Life sentence for man who beat and abducted Powhatan teacher - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Life sentence for man who beat and abducted Powhatan teacher

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POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) -

The man convicted of brutally beating and abducting a Powhatan school teacher will spend the rest of his life behind bars. A judge handed down that sentence to James Wolfe on Monday.

His victim, Mary Anderson, did survive the attack and was in the courthouse to hear the judge's decision.

Anderson's attack was called one of the most gruesome crimes in Powhatan.  But she can now continue to move on with her life. Within moments, her Facebook page had this message: "Justice has been served."

"Of course there's the psychological component to this too, anytime anybody invades your home it can be extremely difficult," says Powhatan Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Beasely.

The Powhatan Commonwealth's Attorney's office recommended life, citing the brutality of the crime.  The attack in January of last year was random.  Wolfe broke into Anderson's home, cut her with a meat cleaver and demanded money and jewelry.  He set her house on fire, forced her to take money out of an ATM then left her on the side of the road.  For weeks she was in ICU.  Family, friends, and strangers rallied around the Powhatan teacher and raised money for her recovery and expenses.

You don't have to go very far in the county to find out how much of an impact this case has had on the community.  At the restaurant right across the street from the courthouse, people call Anderson their friend.

"I'm sure she was as pleased," says Tracy Cifers who manages the restaurant and saw Anderson shortly after the sentencing.

"I think everybody was glad to see that she got justice and that he got a stiff sentence," says Cifers.

Anderson taught special education at Powhatan High School.  NBC12 also ran into one of her former students who has been following the case since day one.

"I'm really glad he's got life he won't be on the streets to do anything to anybody else," says Dorothy Crouch.

Prosecutors say Wolfe's family members did reach out to the judge prior to the sentencing.

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